Recently the extraordinary 52 voice PaTram Institute Male Choir released their recording of Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil.

Under the direction of Ekaterina Antonenko the choir has taken arrangements of the Vigil Service by Rachmaninov and adapted them so they could record a full performance of this 15 section masterwork as a male choir. The result is a CD that has some otherworldly sonorities throughout, with deep, rich, gorgeous resonances encapsulating the beauty and profundity of the music.

The PaTram Institute Male Choir is truly a one-of-a-kind ensemble. It consists of 52 hand selected male singers from all over the word who specialize in performing music of the Eastern Orthodox tradition. All of the singers are first rate performers. What adds to the overall sublime sound of the ensemble is the use of eight world class octavists. These low, subterranean voices add a layer of warmth to the sound that is really very special.

Under the exceptional direction of Ekaterina Antonenko, PaTram have produced a recording that has flawless phrasing and use of dynamics; all together giving the music a marvelous sense of spaciousness and breadth. The renowned octavist singer Glenn Miller is a member of the choir, as he says of Antonenko, “Ekerterina is just amazing! She guided us along with so many beautiful magical moments. Her ability to have us sustain a diminuendo…and it keep s disappearing and disappearing …We all fell in love her, she is just so good.”

The recording was done in 2022 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Rachmaninov’s birth. Aside from the significance of the anniversary, what makes this recording extra special is that it was made at The Church of the Ascension in Jerusalem, which is situated on the Mount of Olives. This was a highlight for all the members of the choir. As Miller states, “It just kind of blew your mind...here we are at one of the holiest places of the Christian-Judeo tradition…the whole experience of being in the holy land…they [the hosts] were so generous to us all in taking us to all the places and singing liturgies in all the places was just wonderful.”


The arrangements of the Rachmaninov All Night Vigil were done by the composers, Alexander Grechaninov, Dimitrii Lazarv, and Benedict Sheehan. Much of the music needed to be transposed down to accommodate the voice types. The transpositions ended up working out quite well, As Miller says, “One thing that I thought was really successful is the way the individual movements through the transpositions connected with each other…the way the sequence of the movements unfolds…it feel like a whole… it sheds new light on the entire work.”

A good percentage of the PaTram Institute Male Choir is Russian and come from the Eastern Orthodox tradition. Miller makes the point that because 10 of the 15 sections of the Vigil are set to traditional Orthodox chant; this text comes so naturally to them that it is like they could sing it in their sleep… because they have been singing this text for pretty much their entire lives.

This recording of the Rachmaninov All Night Vigil is simply remarkable. The Vigil has been recorded dozens of times, but not like this! The sound of the PaTram choir will let the listener revel in the reflective, warm, resonate quality of this masterpiece by Rachmaninov.

This recording is the pinnacle of choral singing and a disc that must be heard!